- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: moist, well-drained, moderately fertile, humus-rich soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: August and September
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Masses of mophead flowers start out deep pink in June, maturing to red with a crescendo of burgundy by the end of the year on neutral or slightly acidic soil. On acid soil, the flowers will open blue or mauve. This upright, deciduous hydrangea is a gorgeous specimen plant for a sunny or partially shady border where the purple-flushed foliage will add colour. It looks particularly good planted with other hydrangeas. The flowerheads are also a popular choice for dried flower arrangements.
- Garden care: Hydrangeas do not like to dry out. In dry weather, soak the roots with a hose and the plant will usually recover. Remove faded flowerheads in spring after the danger of frosts, cutting back the flowered stems to a strong pair of buds. Take out misplaced or diseased shoots. Mulch young plants with a well-rotted manure or compost in spring. Once established, remove a quarter to a third of the shoots to the base of the plant.
Hydrangeas give their best blue flowers on acidic soil of pH 5.5. When grown on neutral soil, with a pH of 7, flowers will predominantly be pink, although blue or mauve blooms can also be produced. To produce blue blooms, make sure your soil is acidic with a pH of at most 6.5. To make a neutral soil acidic you can treat it annually with aluminium salts. However it's much harder to alter the pH of limey soil (alkaline), so it's easier to grow white or pink hydrangeas.
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